Latest data released by IDC shows that Chromebook sales has overtaken iPad sales in schools in the United States for the first time ever. According to the research firm, in the third quarter of 2014, Chromebooks ruled the educational market overtaking iPads. In this time period, Google shipped 715,000 Chromebooks to schools where Apple shipped 702,000 iPads. Chromebooks now also account for a quarter of the whole educational market.
It’s nor a fair comparison to begin with. Chromebooks are something more than a tablet, and something a little less than a full-fledged laptop. But if you take a look around, you’ll see that most of the people who think Chromebooks are not worth it compare it with tablets. The argument is valid, for almost the same price, you can get a tablet that has seemingly far more features such as games and apps. With Chromebook, all you get is a full-fledged browser with a full sized keyboard.
However, that full sized keyboard makes a difference in schools. You have to type a lot, and the experienced of typing on a good quality keyboard is still unbeaten by typing on any touchscreen, no matter how good the touch responsiveness is. This greatly influenced the sales and demand of Chromebooks among schools. You could say that a typing case with an iPad would do the job just great. But then, you would be adding more money to the price, which is another big factor in Google’s big win.
For example, Chromebooks start as low as $199, and sometimes even lower than that. By comparison, the lowest-priced iPad costs $379 with educational discount applied. Schools do care about money. Therefore it was bound to happen that Chromebooks outsell iPads in the education market.
IDC Analyst Rajani Singh said the following regarding this, “Chromebooks are really gaining traction. The growth of Chromebook is a major concern for Apple’s iPad. As the average age of the student grows the need for a keyboard becomes very important.”
On the software end, though, iPad still beats Chromebook with its large selection of education-oriented apps available on the App Store. About 75,000 apps are currently available on the App Store that are designed for schools. Add to that the features of iTunes U which lets teachers and professors to share lectures or create courses for their students, and it’s easy to see why Chromebook falls behind in this area.
Google is, however, trying to catch up. It launched Google Play for Education for Chromebooks, which is basically a modified Play Store that only shows apps designed for education on Chromebooks. It may take a while for Google to catch up, but sooner or later it will, now that it has got the upper hand by delivering its hardware products to the hands of the students.
Are you a student? Between iPad and Chromebook, which do you think is more efficient for your classroom work?